Tyrosine is made in the body from the amino acid phenylalanine and is the raw material of the three catecholamines: adrenaline (epinephrine), noradrenaline (norepinephrine) and dopamine. These are involved in alertness, concentration and coping with stress. Tyrosine is also used to make thyroid hormone, which is needed for growth and energy metabolism.
Some researchers have used tyrosine supplements in parkinsonism, and claim to have obtained better clinical results with fewer side effects than conventional treatments.
Low levels of catecholamines can lead to mental apathy, low blood pressure and depression. If these low levels are due to a tyrosine deficiency, tyrosine supplementation can increase them, thus improving all these symptoms. Suggested dose: 1 gram on rising in the morning.
Tyrosine supplements should not be taken by people on MAO inhibitor drugs or individuals with schizophrenia or malignant melanoma.
Vegetarian sources: Weight for weight, soya protein concentrate, soya flour, tofu, peanuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, peanuts and peanut butter are as rich in tyrosine as animal proteins.